Reliance Jio, Bharti Infratel sign tower sharing agreement

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Ahead of the launch of its mobile services, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm today signed an agreement with Bharti Infratel to utilise the latter's tower infrastructure.

The companies have signed a master services agreement and pricing would be at 'arm's length,' based on prevailing market rates, a joint statement by the two companies said.

"Under the agreement, Reliance Jio would utilise the telecom tower infrastructure of Bharti Infratel to launch its services across the country," it added.

According to sources, Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries is likely to launch its 4G services by September this year starting from Delhi and Mumbai.

"This agreement is in line with our earlier comprehensive telecom infrastructure sharing arrangement with Bharti Airtel Limited aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment," Reliance Jio MD Sanjay Mashruwala said.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio had last year announced a comprehensive arrangement for sharing telecom infrastructure.

The arrangement included optic fibre network - inter and intra city, submarine cable networks, towers and Internet broadband services and other such opportunities identified in the future.

Bharti Infratel's has over 82,000 telecom towers, which includes over 35,000 of its own towers and the balance from its 42 per cent equity interest in Indus Towers.

"Our vast footprint and high network uptime levels will offer significant synergies of faster access to market and lower operational costs," Bharti Infratel CEO D S Rawat said.

He added the agreement would also benefit its existing customers with lower rentals and energy charges as a result of additional sharing.

Reliance Jio is the first telecom operator to hold pan- India Unified License and had announced in July last year that it will add 7,000 employees taking total headcount at company to 10,000 in 2014-15.

Reliance Jio started first trial of its 4G services in Delhi, Mumbai and Jamnagar. The Department of Telecom has allocated 22 million numbers for launch of services.

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